Marine Corps Cpl Kevin Dubois, a veteran who was injured during his second deployment to Afghanistan, and Kayla Dubois, completed their Open Water Diver certifications yesterday. CplDubois was injured in 2011 while securing a makeshift landing zone near Sangin, a Taliban hotspot. A hidden explosive detonated, taking sniper Cpl Dubois’ two legs by the hip.
Operation Blue Pride, a New England-based nonprofit voluntary organization (OBP), along with the Boston Police Port Unit and Dive Team had the incredible opportunity to train Kevin and Kayla during of 4 pool sessions and 4 open water dives here in the northeast.
The Boston Police Port Unit and Dive Team consisted of Sergeant Mike Coyne, BPD Dive Team Commander, OBP alumnus Sergeant John Burrows, Officers Tom Finn and Hector Gonzalez, as well as officers Kevin Smith, Steve Merrick, Michael Fayles and Jeff Tobin. The OBP team was led by their Executive Director and Instructor Nancy Grodberg, PADI Course Director Laura McCallion and PADI IDC Staff Instructor Peter Lewandowski, and former OBP Matt DeMarof of the Leominster Fire Department.
OBP became active in New England in 2014 with a mission to introduce veterans, active military families and Gold Star families to low cost or free scuba diving, regardless of physical or psychological injury. OBP programming allows veterans to participate in diving training tailored to individual needs.
As of 2014, OBP has certified over 275 veterans and has expanded its programming to include shore and boat dives, advanced / specialist diving courses, professional level dive training, and tailored instructor training and pair. OBP is funded by private donations, a grant from the Department of Veteran Affairs (grants for adapted sports), Scubapro and support from the New England diving community.
Every dollar donated to OBP goes directly to supporting our veterans. To learn more about OBP, enroll in a program, or donate to their mission, visit their website at http://www.operationbluepride.org.